Does your daughter struggle with low self-esteem? Is it difficult for her to love herself even when you tell her that she is beautiful? Does she talk about how dumb, ugly, or unworthy she is?
I struggled with self-love for years. Let’s be honest, sometimes I still struggle. It is difficult to find the beauty in my flaws and provide myself the compassion I easily give to others.
Learning to love yourself is a process that can be long and difficult, but the sooner we can teach young girls with low self-esteem self-love and acceptance, the more likely they are to grow into confident, capable women.
If raising empowered daughters is important to you, then you need to be intentional in helping them learn to love themselves.
5 Ways to Build Self-Esteem in Girls:
1. Create an attitude of gratitude together.
It is important to not only teach your daughter what gratitude is, but how to express it. A gratitude journal can help young girls capture and articulate these emotions. Additionally, journaling can evoke mindfulness, help to improve communication skills, and promote self-confidence. A couple of prompts that can get you started include: “What are you grateful for today?” or “Write a letter thanking yourself for all the awesome things that you have done.”
2. Practice self-affirmation together.
When I was younger, I loved that my mom would allow me to use the bathtub and mirror to express my creativity with paint. Bathrooms are a great place for teen girls to put positive affirmations. Encourage your daughter to write phrases such as “I am beautiful, I am worthy, and I am enough” in a place that she can see it every day. If you don’t like the idea of paint, you can always have her write and decorate her affirmations on sticky notes.
3. Volunteer somewhere together.
Volunteering allows your daughter to gain a new experience, develop a deeper sense of self, and often, will leave you both feeling fulfilled. There is a saying: “It is in giving that we receive.” It is even more so when you do it together. I remember, as a young girl I would volunteer at places such as the community concession stands, within my religious community, and in an array of volunteer activities through Girl Scouts with my mother. It not only helped me to feel good and learn the importance of giving back, but also created positive memories with her that I carry with me today.
4. Practice mindfulness.
Explore yoga and other mindfulness practices with your teen. Yoga and meditation are great for the body, mind, and soul, and can be a conduit to self-discovery, self-acceptance, and self-love. Mindfulness encourages an individual to breathe and focus on letting go of negative thoughts. If yoga does not seem like the right fit for you and your daughter, consider adding a mindfulness meditation to your morning routine. These are both intentional and meaningful steps towards self-love.
5. Be creative.
Exploring your creativity can be a profound expression of self-love and self-care. Consider attending an art class with your daughter–and keep experimenting until you find something that makes you both excited. If art isn’t your thing, do something simple like cooking dinner or baking a new dessert. Let your daughter experiment with new tastes and flavors. Not only will this provide her with valuable life skills, but you can share with her the importance of eating healthy, fueling your body right, and having a healthy relationship with food. But there’s no end to the opportunities. Gardening, music, creative writing or even board games can all get the creative juices flowing.